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NBA FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL --- --- --- --- ----- PORTLAND 27 19 26 17 89 HOUSTON 24 21 23 11 79 FINAL

HIGH SCORERS: POR - STEVE SMITH 22, ARVYDAS SABONIS 15, SCOTTIE PIPPEN 13 HOU - CUTTINO MOBLEY 20, STEVE FRANCIS 14, TWO PLAYERS WITH 12

HIGH REBOUND: POR - SCOTTIE PIPPEN 8, BRIAN GRANT 8 HOU - CARLOS ROGERS 8, TWO PLAYERS WITH 7

HIGH ASSISTS: POR - SCOTTIE PIPPEN 8, GREG ANTHONY 6 HOU - STEVE FRANCIS 7, SHANDON ANDERSON 4

ATT: 16,285


Extended Box

PORTLAND (89) AT HOUSTON (79)

PORTLAND REBOUNDS PLAYER POS MIN FGM-FGA FTM-FTA OFF-DEF-TOT AST PF ST TO PTS ====== === === ======= ======= =========== === == == == ===

PIPPEN F 38 5-12 2-2 1 7 8 8 3 2 2 13 WALLACE F 30 6-10 0-0 3 1 4 0 4 0 2 12 SABONIS C 28 7-17 1-1 3 4 7 1 1 1 2 15 SMITH G 36 10-15 0-0 3 4 7 3 2 1 1 22 STOUDAMIRE G 12 1-6 0-0 0 0 0 1 4 0 0 2 B GRANT 23 3-8 2-3 3 5 8 0 2 0 1 8 ANTHONY 36 4-11 0-0 1 0 1 6 1 1 1 9 WELLS 6 2-4 0-0 0 1 1 0 0 0 1 4 AUGMON 20 2-4 0-0 2 4 6 0 2 2 2 4 SCHREMPF 8 0-2 0-0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 ONEAL 3 0-1 0-0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 HARVEY DNP - COACH'S DECISION

TOTALS 240 40-90 5-6 16 26 42 19 21 8 12 89 (.444) (.833) TEAM REBS: 5 TOTAL TO: 12(12 PTS)

HOUSTON REBOUNDS PLAYER POS MIN FGM-FGA FTM-FTA OFF-DEF-TOT AST PF ST TO PTS ====== === === ======= ======= =========== === == == == ===

BULLARD F 19 0-3 2-2 0 3 3 3 1 0 0 2 ROGERS F 28 5-10 2-2 5 3 8 1 0 1 2 12 HAMILTON C 14 2-5 0-0 1 2 3 0 0 0 2 4 ANDERSON G 39 5-12 0-0 2 5 7 4 0 1 3 12 FRANCIS G 38 7-13 0-1 3 3 6 7 1 2 4 14 MOBLEY 32 8-14 1-1 0 4 4 0 5 1 4 20 CATO 29 2-5 2-4 3 4 7 0 2 1 1 6 THOMAS 22 0-4 3-5 0 6 6 0 1 0 1 3 DREW 10 1-4 0-0 0 1 1 1 0 0 1 2 GRAY 9 1-1 2-2 0 1 1 0 2 0 2 4 MASSENBURG DNP - COACH'S DECISION WILLIAMS DNP - COACH'S DECISION

TOTALS 240 31-71 12-17 14 32 46 16 12 6 20 79 (.437) (.706) TEAM REBS: 3 TOTAL TO: 23(18 PTS)

PORTLAND 27 19 26 17 - 89 HOUSTON 24 21 23 11 - 79

BLOCKED SHOTS: PORTLAND - SABONIS 3, WALLACE 2, PIPPEN, B GRANT. HOUSTON - CATO 3, HAMILTON, ANDERSON. 3-PT. FIELD GOALS: PORTLAND 4-17 (.235), PIPPEN 1-5, WALLACE 0-1, SABONIS 0-2, SMITH 2-3, ANTHONY 1-6. HOUSTON 5-19 (.263), BULLARD 0-2, ROGERS 0-1, ANDERSON 2-6, FRANCIS 0-2, MOBLEY 3-4, THOMAS 0-3, DREW 0-1. TECHNICALS: PORTLAND - ILLEGAL DEFENSE. OFFICIALS: DAVID JONES, DICK BAVETTA, TOMMY NUNEZ. A - 16,285. T - 2:07.


Box Score

PORTLAND (89) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Pippen 38 5-12 2-2 1-8 8 3 13 Wallace 30 6-10 0-0 3-4 0 4 12 Sabonis 28 7-17 1-1 3-7 1 1 15 Smith 36 10-15 0-0 3-7 3 2 22 Stoudamire 12 1-6 0-0 0-0 1 4 2 B Grant 23 3-8 2-3 3-8 0 2 8 Anthony 36 4-11 0-0 1-1 6 1 9 Wells 6 2-4 0-0 0-1 0 0 4 Augmon 20 2-4 0-0 2-6 0 2 4 Schrempf 8 0-2 0-0 0-0 0 1 0 Oneal 3 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 1 0 Harvey DNP - coach's decision _______________________________________________ TOTALS 240 40-90 5-6 16-42 19 21 89 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.444, FT-.833. 3-Point Goals: 4-17, .235 (Pippen 1-5, Wallace 0-1, Sabonis 0-2, Smith 2-3, Anthony 1-6). Team rebounds: 5. Blocked shots: 7 (Sabonis 3, Wallace 2, Pippen, B Grant). Turnovers: 12 (Augmon 2, Pippen 2, Sabonis 2, Wallace 2, Anthony, B Grant, Smith, Wells). Steals: 8 (Augmon 2, Pippen 2, Anthony, Sabonis, Schrempf, Smith).

HOUSTON (79) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Bullard 19 0-3 2-2 0-3 3 1 2 Rogers 28 5-10 2-2 5-8 1 0 12 Hamilton 14 2-5 0-0 1-3 0 0 4 Anderson 39 5-12 0-0 2-7 4 0 12 Francis 38 7-13 0-1 3-6 7 1 14 Mobley 32 8-14 1-1 0-4 0 5 20 Cato 29 2-5 2-4 3-7 0 2 6 Thomas 22 0-4 3-5 0-6 0 1 3 Drew 10 1-4 0-0 0-1 1 0 2 Gray 9 1-1 2-2 0-1 0 2 4 Massenburg DNP - coach's decision Williams DNP - coach's decision _______________________________________________ TOTALS 240 31-71 12-17 14-46 16 12 79 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.437, FT-.706. 3-Point Goals: 5-19, .263 (Bullard 0-2, Rogers 0-1, Anderson 2-6, Francis 0-2, Mobley 3-4, Thomas 0-3, Drew 0-1). Team rebounds: 3. Blocked shots: 5 (Cato 3, Hamilton, Anderson). Turnovers: 23 (Francis 4, Mobley 4, Anderson 3, Gray 2, Hamilton 2, Rogers 2, Cato, Drew, Thomas). Steals: 6 (Francis 2, Anderson, Cato, Mobley, Rogers). ____________________________________________ Portland 27 19 26 17 - 89 Houston 24 21 23 11 - 79 ____________________________________________ Technical fouls: Portland 1 (Illegal Defense, 7:48 2nd). Flagrant fouls: None. A: 16,285. T: 2:07. Officials: David Jones, Dick Bavetta, Tommy Nunez.


Game Story

HOUSTON (Ticker) -- Houston Rockets fans booed Portland Trail Blazers forward Scottie Pippen every time he touched the ball. They should have saved their derisive cheers for Steve Smith.

Pippen had a solid night with 13 points, eight rebounds and eight assists in his return to Houston, but it was Smith's 22 points on 10-of-15 shooting that did in the Rockets and lifted the Trail Blazers to an 89-79 triumph.

Pippen spent an uneventful season with the Rockets during the lockout-shortened campaign and forced a blockbuster offseason deal after a falling out with former teammate Charles Barkley.

The Compaq Center fans voiced their displeasure in the 6-7 forward, booing him whenever he had possession of the ball. Meanwhile, Smith was busy burying 9-of-12 shots for 19 points through three quarters to give Portland a 72-68 lead it would not surrender.

"As a player, you look forward to being taunted," Pippen said. "I anticipated the game would be tough, but we came in here and did our job. I just tried to play a comfortable game. I made some passes and made some things happen."

The Rockets stayed close and pulled within 79-77 on a dunk by rookie Steve Francis with 4:55 to play. Pippen responded, sinking a 22-footer and a 3-pointer to spark a closing 10-2 run capped by Smith's 3-pointer with 1:29 to play.

"I knew the fans were going to get on me, but I tried to stay focused on what our team needed to do," Pippen added. "I didn't say anything back, I just listened to them. They made it fun for me. I like playing in an atmosphere like this. It was sort of like playing in the Finals. I didn't need to rub it in their face."

Arvydas Sabonis scored 15 points and Rasheed Wallace added 12 for the Blazers, who avoided their first three-game losing streak of the season and climbed within 2 1/2 games of the first-place Los Angeles Lakers (22-5) for the best record in the NBA.

"The last couple of games that we lost, we didn't hustle," Wallace said. "Tonight we hustled and we won. Scottie hit some big shots. His coming back to Houston didn't affect us. We knew what we had to do as a team and we did it."

Cuttino Mobley scored 20 points and Francis added 14 for the Rockets, who have lost six of their last seven games and have dropped both meetings with Portland this season.

"We turned the ball over too much, especially in the second half," Francis said. "You have to give Portland credit because they played aggressive defense. We have to learn to step up and make those shots in the fourth quarter."

Mike Dunleavy notched his 100th win as Blazers coach, improving to 100-58 in just his third seasoon on the sidelines in Portland.

"It's good to get back in the win column," Dunleavy said. "We played hard and had some good performances. We started the game the way we wanted to start, but we slipped a little bit and gave some of it back."

The Blazers shot 44 percent (40-of-90) from the floor and had a season-low 5-of-6 performance at the line. But Portland forced 23 turnovers while committing 12.

Sabonis scored 11 points in the first half, taking advantage of inexperienced center Thomas Hamilton and staking the Blazers to a 27-24 lead.

"I'm the slowest guy in this league but (Hamilton) is still slower than me," Sabonis said.

Houston is still awaiting the return of center Hakeem Olajuwon from hernia surgery. Barkley's career ended with a knee injury in Philadelphia on December 8, leaving the Rockets with a depleted roster.

Houston rallied in the second quarter behind Mobley, who made 5-of-8 shots for 14 points in the first half. Portland held a 46-45 lead at intermission.

"Mobley was putting on a performance tonight. He was making plays and shots that you don't see every night," Dunleavy said.

Houston established a season low with 34 second-half points and matched its season low with 11 in the final period. The Rockets slipped to 0-15 when trailing after three quarters.

"Tonight it was just the same old song," Houston coach Rudy Tomjanovich said. "We had (eight) fourth-quarter turnovers and we just couldn't hit any shots at the end. We had our open shots and didn't make them. I thought overall we played great. I don't think the loss had anything to do with us not playing hard."

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